Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

The ethical handbag

I don't claim to go out of my way to buy ethically, though I won't buy very cheap and I won't buy faked, but the Guardian today has a gallery of ethical handbags. This one is made in Cambodia out of scraps that would be thrown away onto landfill sites. It costs only £45 from
By La Vie Devant Soie and you can buy it online at


Rosie said...

Because nothing is more unethical than cheap clothing.

And wow, only £45?? Bargain! That could only feed a child in a third-world country for a year.

I think you miss the point of ethical clothing manufacture. Your use of "cheap" and "faked" as synonymous with unethical shows this.

Shopping ethically doesn't mean paying ridiculous amounts because the cotton is certifiably organic or because the designer himself rigorously ensured the product was made to his exact guidelines in Italy. It means being aware that every purchase you make is part of a cycle of marketing and consumerism, and subsequently trying to direct your money to companies that don't engage in practices like sweat-shop labour.

Maybe you don't claim to go out of your way to be ethical, but if you're going to advertise "ethical" bags - and call yourself The Thoughtful Dresser - you've got to be prepared to offer some kind of independent thought of your own on the subject. One of the aims of the ethical clothing movement is to make people aware that all of their actions as consumers have ramifications, and that we must use our conscience and our critical capacity when buying.

Linda Grant said...

No, I definitely don't claim to go out of my way to be ethical. I don't advertise the bags, I merely draw them to people's attention, along with many other things. This site is concerned with pleasure in dress. If you choose to do that ethically, then good for you.

Anonymous said...

Finally the craze for cheap throw-away clothing seems to have reached its zenith (with the opening of the Oxford Street Primark - how undignified can humans get?). With the threat of a rather ghastly downturn in the economy there is at least hope of a rise in a more considered approach to clothes. The idea of making a few purchases a year of well designed and well made pieces that will last is a breath of fresh air and much more conducive to creating a personal style.

Whilst I agree with Rosie's points, I really don't think we can beat eachother for the present state of affairs. Fashion is just one facet of our highly complex social culture and should not be considered in isolation.

Having said that I am ignoring the Olympics this year!